The Hazards Of Journalism: BBC News Team Attacked In Russia, Their Footage Obliterated

Journalism has always been a dangerous undertaking. Journalists all around the globe have routinely come under various forms of threats. Some have even paid the price of reporting news, with their lives. A group of journalists from the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) has just come under attack in southern Russia.

A BBC team was attacked in the southern Russian city of Astrakhan. They had gone to investigate reports of Russian servicemen being killed near the border with Ukraine. The team’s cameraman was beaten up and the camera smashed during the attack. However, the crew was yet to receive one more shock. After returning from the police station, they discovered that their footage was deleted. The recording media stored was carefully erased, leaving the crew empty-handed, reported The Huffington Post.

The BBC has lodged a formal protest with Russia over the incident and called for an investigation. Responding to the same, the authorities in Astrakhan have launched a criminal case into the attack.

The BBC team was leaving a small café in the town, when they were accosted by three aggressive individuals, who approached the vehicle, confronted the team and attacked them, claimed BBC Moscow correspondent Steve Rosenberg.

Though the team is now safe and back in Moscow, they were questioned for more than four hours by the local police. During the time, the camera equipment that was left behind in the car, was allegedly accessed and all of the footage was deleted, claim the team. The data on the main hard-drive as well as several memory cards is said to have been irrecoverably obliterated. BBC has called on the Russian authorities to condemn the assault and launch a “thorough investigation.”

Why are journalists being targeted? So far, journalists in Russia or Ukraine weren’t being manhandled, but lately, the media reporters claims the incidents of wanton violence against press-reporters and journalists have increased alarmingly. Speaking about the same, OSCE’s representative on media freedom, Dunja Mijatovic said,

“What we are witnessing is a clear sign of harassment of free media in Russia.”

According to journalists, they are being targeted in Russia, when going after “certain stories.” Though she wasn’t forthcoming as to what stories was she referring to, Ukraine, for quite so time, has been crying horse that Russia is helping rebels defeat Kiev. Quite recently, without any authorization from Ukraine, Russia parked 215 vehicles, which allegedly contained humanitarian aid. Though the BBC crew clarified they were investigating reports of Russian servicemen being killed near the border, were the other journalists attempting to uncover the contents of these trucks?

[Image Credit | Lewis Clarke]